Practical Experience is Not Enough

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4 Responses

  1. KipEsquire says:

    It was William F. Buckley who said that, not Henry Kissinger.

  2. Huggy says:

    I would hope President Bush is communicating:

    > SCOTUS appointments are political.

    > Politics should be inclusive.

    It’s a gesture allowing the political war to end. Remember that the DEMOs are his friends and neighbors. It’s a grand gesture.

  3. Simon says:

    I don’t agree with Senator Cornyn’s assesment, although my reasons may well be naive, and I would welcome someone constructively tearing them apart.

    I am not so convinced that either her experience as a lawyer is a good thing, untethered from an intellectual counterbalance as a Judge or academic, or that her experience in the trenches is a good thing. I explained my concern on the first point here.

    To the other point, my concern would be that experience with the real-world consequences of one’s judgements is likely to make a Justice pause to consider whether a ruling which is constitutionally necessary should be made if it had far-reaching practical effects. In my view, a Justice should not entertain such concerns.

    For example, in Blakely, I do not think that Justices O’Connor and Kennedy were necessarily mistaken in their dire predictions. My point in rebuttal would simply be “so?”. The bill of rights was written to protect basic rights; in my view, it was not written to make government easy, it was written to make it hard. Justice Scalia’s majority opinion rightly point-blank ignores the concerns of the dissents, because they are immaterial to the point at hand.

    My concern is that Miers is too likely to be result-oriented; she has a background in a results-oriented career, without firm anchorage in constitutional theory, and her experience in the trenches may make her like the General who has grown too fond of his men to order the assult.

  4. Roach says:

    If Bush were serious about practical experience, he’d put a distinguished district court judge in place, like Lee Rosenthal from Houston. Practical lawyering and decionmaking from the standpoint of one who is not allied to one or another side or class of litigants is part and parcel of the requirement for “blind justice.”

    The kind of legal reasoning required to interpret complicated statutes, constitutional provisions, and the like is not something everyone has or that one can develop overnight. Mier’s penchant for firm administration and bar association glad handing suggests she moved away from the hard work of lawyering to the more inchoate world of business and politics.

    Her fondness for John Grisham doesn’t suggest she’s devloping these reasoning skills in her off time.